49% of new Hypertension cases at city clinics in Cape Town were for people younger than 45, this has inspired the city to raise awareness to help with healthier lifestyles.
Cape Town, South Africa (25 May 2023) – There has been a rise in hypertension cases in the 18 to 44 age group in Cape Town as assessed by city clinics. In the hopes of combatting this, the City of Cape Town is raising awareness about Hypertension and urging people below the age of 40 to do more regular checks.
Over a 12-month period between April 2022 and March 2023, city clinics screened 190,295 clients for hypertension. Of the 3,942 new hypertension cases, 49% (1,932) were in the 18 – 44 age group. This staggering statistic proves that high blood pressure is not a lifestyle disease affecting the elderly, but one that affects us all!
Due to the increasing prevalence of risk factors such as smoking and obesity, city clinics are seeing a consistently high number of younger persons with hypertension.
The statistics prove that the onus is on everyone, both old and young, to take ownership of their health, and to be informed about the risks.
‘In response to this emerging trend, City Health has started paying particular attention to persons younger than 40 who are at risk. It takes two minutes to check someone’s blood pressure – two minutes that could mean the difference between life and death. And so I urge everyone to have their BP checked regularly, and to take appropriate steps in consultation with their healthcare provider if need be,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Patricia Van der Ross.
Fact about Hypertension
- Hypertension is defined as a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher consistently.
- It is known as the ‘silent killer’, as it generally has no symptoms, but slowly causes damage to organs such as the blood vessels, heart, brain and kidneys if left untreated over many years.
- It is a long-term condition where the blood pressure is increased.
- It is the leading cause of death worldwide, affecting more than 1,4 billion people and accounting for more than 28 000 deaths each day.
Risk factors include, but are not limited to, a family history of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, ethnicity, lack of exercise, high blood pressure in pregnancy and a poor diet with excess alcohol, sugar and salt.
‘The key is to be screened, especially if you have one of the risk factors mentioned. And, the good news is that a healthy lifestyle, together with appropriate medication, can prevent complications and put you in control. But it all starts with stepping up to get your pressure checked,’ said Chairperson of the City’s Portfolio Committee on Community Services and Health, Councillor Ronel Viljoen.
Ways to reduce the risk of hypertension, or to manage the condition include:
- maintaining a healthy lifestyle by being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day
- maintaining a healthy weight
- reducing your salt intake (to less than 5g daily)
- not smoking or using tobacco
- reducing alcohol consumption
- eating a balanced diet low in bad fats
Residents can also find more information at their local clinic, or join the City Health ‘Live Well’ programme, which teaches communities about healthy lifestyle, diet and exercise.